I’ve mentioned before that I have no gardening gifts. However, that is not going to stop me. I believe that my lack of gardening skills makes me happier than gifted gardeners when I manage to get something growing. And oh boy, you should see me when my efforts actually produce flowers, fruit or veggies. This year, I have decided to take it step-by-step, starting at the beginning. I reckoned that if I can get seeds or cuttings to grow, I’ll be halfway there.
Cardboard tubes to start seeds
This is one of those “why didn’t I think of it” moments. Empty toilet paper or kitchen towel tubes make ideal seed starters. The first step is to cut the cardboard tubes into lengths of about two inches. Stand your tubes upright in a waterproof tray. The next step is to fill them with potting soil. Plant the seeds in them, and wait for the magic when the first signs of tiny leaves appear. Don’t remove the cardboard when you plant them. Plant them as they are in the tubes and make sure the tubes’ entire lengths are covered in soil. As the tiny plants grow, the cardboard tubes will decompose.
Soda bottle greenhouses to get seeds growing
You can create your own micro greenhouse system to get cuttings or seeds starting. Gather some 2-liter soda bottles, cut the bottoms off and get rid of the labels. Fill them with potting soil and plant a seed in each bottle bottom. Replace the top part of the bottle, and voila! Your seeds or cuttings each have their own greenhouse. Wait for the cuttings to root and the seeds to germinate before transplanting them in the garden. The clear plastic will allow the sun in, while also keeping the moisture from evaporating.
On your next trip to the salad bar, don’t discard the clamshell take-out container. Instead, use it to make a mini-greenhouse to get your seed growing this spring. Firstly, wash the container after you had your lunch and punch holes in the top to allow airflow. Put your seedling starter or potting soil in the bottom half, and plant your seeds. Check the packets for instructions on how to spread the seeds. Water them lightly and close the lid. Put the clamshell in a nice sunny spot. Before long, you’ll see the seeds sprouting.
Start your seeds growing in citrus rinds
Orange, grapefruit and other citrus halves make ideal planters. Cut the fruit in half, spoon out the contents and fill the rinds with seed-starting mix. Plant the tiny seeds and watch them grow. Like with the cardboard tubes, you can plant the entire seed-containing peel. However, with this method, you must choose plants that love acidity, like peppers and radishes, because the citrus rinds add acidity to the soil
There you go, it’s almost spring, and your seeds and cuttings can’t wait to get planted.